On Thursday 9th November, it was announced that Carles Puigdemont’s Catalan party Junts had agreed to invest socialist Pedro Sánchez as Spain’s Prime Minister. A week earlier, Esquerra had also given its support.
The Catalan National Assembly believes that these pacts to invest Pedro Sánchez do not bring any real and effective solution to the political conflict as they do not recognize Catalonia’s right to self-determination. Only letting Catalans decide their political future can end this historical question, but this has never been on the table for the Spanish government. It is not realistic to expect this to change.
Although an amnesty law may benefit many Catalan elected representatives and activists who have been repressed and persecuted because of their political beliefs and activity, whose suffering has been unjust, and any relief they could get would be very positive, the political conflict also needs to be addressed. We have repeatedly stated that Spain would never allow Catalonia to hold an independence referendum. Such a democratic exercise is and always has been a red line that no single Spanish government has wanted to cross, as the Spanish post-Francoist Constitutional system places the indissoluble unity of the state above any consideration regarding human rights and democratic principles. This is the foundation of Spanish supremacist nationalism which denies the existence of other peoples. Spain is a flawed democracy when it comes to territorial issues and dealing with stateless nations such as the Basques or the Catalans. Its institutions and political culture still have deep ties to its undemocratic Francoist past. History has taught us to be weary and to mistrust the Spanish authorities. Promises and trust have been broken repeatedly, so that we no longer have any confidence.
Spain is attempting to whitewash its international reputation after six years of repression and rights abuses against Catalans, which several international bodies and organizations have denounced. And here, too, we see the clear danger that not even the amnesty will take effect in the end, as the Spanish authorities have so often failed to honour agreements Only exercising the right to self-determination would stop these abuses from happening again.
The Catalan National Assembly is a grassroots organization created more than ten years ago to work towards Catalonia’s independence, and our goal and position remain the same. Empty words or promises are insufficient and will not solve this political question, so we will continue defending an evidence-based unilateral path as the only possible route to self-determination.